Sanger’s Rylan Smart throws a pass to a receiver while being rushed by the Iowa Park defense on Nov. 14, 2020, at the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco.

Going into last season, Sanger had not made the playoffs since 2017.

In that span, the Indians struggled, going a combined 5-26 — including a winless campaign in 2018 and a 1-9 mark in 2019.

Sanger was poised to get back on track in head coach Rocky Smart’s second season in 2020, and the Indians did just that.

Smart helped orchestrate a massive turnaround, guiding Sanger to an 8-2 record that included a playoff appearance. The Indians eventually fell to Iowa Park 34-20 in the bi-district round, but not before putting up a fight and proving they were contenders once again.

Although one of Sanger’s biggest contributors from last season in running back Tallyn Welborn has graduated, the Indians still have plenty of talent at their disposal.

Starting quarterback Rylan Smart is back for his senior season and will be tasked with leading Sanger’s offense. Rylan, the son of head coach Rocky, threw for 2,075 yards and 17 touchdowns last season. He also added 313 yards and nine scores on the ground.

The Indians open the 2021 season at home against Benbrook on Aug. 27 before traveling to Lake Worth on Sept. 3.

Sanger rounds out non-district play with games against Howe, Mineral Wells, Venus and Vernon. The Indians were a perfect 6-0 against these teams in non-district play last year.

Following its open week on Oct. 8, Sanger begins District 4-4A Division II play against cross-county rival Aubrey on Oct. 15. The Chaparrals knocked off the Indians 48-25 last year.

Sanger then takes on Krum and Van Alstyne before hosting Celina on Nov. 5 to close out the regular season.

The Indians’ game against Celina last season was canceled due to COVID-19 cases at Sanger High School.

All of Sanger’s games this fall are scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

Sanger 2021 football schedule

Week 1 (Friday, Aug. 27)

Sanger vs. Benbrook

Week 2 (Friday, Sept. 3)

Sanger at Lake Worth

Week 3 (Friday, Sept. 10)

Sanger vs. Howe

Week 4 (Friday, Sept. 17)

Sanger at Mineral Wells

Week 5 (Friday, Sept. 24)

Sanger at Venus

Week 6 (Friday, Oct. 1)

Sanger vs. Vernon

Week 7


Week 8 (Friday, Oct. 15)

Sanger at Aubrey

Week 9 (Friday, Oct. 22)

Sanger vs. Krum

Week 10 (Friday, Oct. 29)

Sanger at Van Alstyne

Week 11 (Friday, Nov. 5)

Sanger vs. Celina

REECE WADDELL can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter at @ReeceWaddell15.

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